Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Autoimmune Disease
The immune system is the body's defense against foreign substances,
such as bacteria or viruses, that may be harmful. An autoimmune disease is an
abnormal condition that occurs when a person's immune system attacks its own
tissues as though they were foreign substances.
Why the body attacks its own cells is not known. Autoimmune
diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and Sjögren's
syndrome. Certain types of diabetes and thyroid disease are related to
autoimmune reactions. People who have autoimmune diseases are at an increased
risk for infections.
Current as of:
February 24, 2016
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.